just read an interesting article via ypulse about why teenagers act the way they do (just a note: the author obviously is writing about teenagers as a unique evolutionary species and gives “animal” reasons for their behavior. While I do not agree that developmental reasons are the ONLY thing that drives teenage behavior, i do believe that there is some truth to these claims). here’s an interesting exerpt:
Why are teenagers rude?
“The chances are that they’re not rude and selﬁsh with everybody,” says Bainbridge, “just rude to their parents and younger siblings.” Actively excluding parents by being mean and sullen is a cruel, but necessary, stage to help attached children sever their ties to the nest and live on their own. Walking 10 steps ahead of your parents so that no one thinks you are remotely acquainted is part of the same process, as is being irritated by the way your mother eats her toast or drinks her tea. “There has to be rejection if you’re going to be a healthy adult. It’s important to have a strong sense of self and it’s almost as if the more you reject your parents the more you are doing that.”
Why do teenagers ﬁnd it so hard to get out of bed?
One theory is that the re-wiring of the brain means the teenage body clock runs slower than adults, says Bainbridge, making their day more like 26 hours long. So, 8am feels more like 6am. “Hamsters think a day is 20 hours long, so maybe they’re the opposite of hamsters.” The other possible explanation is that teenagers haven’t yet developed the mechanism required for registering fatigue. “They just don’t realise how tired they are, and so keep going.” His other idea is much simpler: “When you’re a teenager, mornings are quite boring and evenings are quite interesting. It’s much more fun to stay up late.”
Why won’t teenagers pick up their wet towels?
“Tidying up is about developing your abilities to plan ahead,” he says, and this function may not yet to be fully developed in the teenage brain. Teenagers drop towels on the ﬂoor like small children because they haven’t “yet started to necessarily see the relevance of what they do”. He advises frequent reminders. “One day you will catch them on the day they start thinking about that sort of thing. It will all click into place.”
What is it that teenagers ﬁnd so attractive about sitcoms like the OC and Friends?
“Teenagers become obsessed with friends and that’s a phenomenon you don’t see in other animals,” says Bainbridge, “They have allies, mates, individuals they co-operate with, but not friends.” But humans are an extremely social species and success depends on our ability to function well in society. One theory is that teenagers have friends to hone their social skills in a relatively risk-free environment. “They’re not interested in what adults are doing,” he says, “but they like watching how people who a bit older interact. And when you’re a teenager, you can either watch other teenagers interacting, or you can watch it on telly.” The appeal of the sitcom Friends, he says, is that it shows “attractive people behaving in a teenage way, even though by the end of the series they are in their 30s.”
Why do teenagers like loud music?
Loud music has an element of deﬁance says Bainbridge, but there is also evidence that listening to loud music causes the release of dopamine in the brain: “The reward-seeking pathway, which basically means enjoyment.” He’s not sure if this continues into adulthood, “but when you’re 15, the emotional part of your brain can react to music without the higher intellectual centres thinking, actually this is a bit naﬀ . When you’re 25, you don’t have that openness any more.”
read the whole article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/feb/07/family6